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-set apart for the purpose of repetition and examination,
May the blessing of God accompany the good endeavours of every parent who shall engage in this “ work and labour of love;" that they may have the satisfaction to see that their children “ increase in wisdom as well as in stature," and that, as they advance in life, they “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
TO THE CHILDREN
IN THE PARISHES OF
WELLINGTON AND EYTON.
MY DEAR CHILDREN,
are “ by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath.” I hope, when you have spoken this with your lips, you have believed it with your understandings and your hearts, for it is an awful and affecting truth. But I would not have you to conclude that because your natural state is thus sinful and dangerous, it is therefore hopeless; for God hath had compassion on you even in your sins, and hath sent' his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save you. On this account you have learned to call Christ your Saviour; and I wish you always to remember, what the word of God declares, that “ there is salvation in no other;" for “ there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Jesus Christ is your only Saviour, and he is in all respects such a Saviour as you stand in need of. He is the author of present and eternal Salvation. By present salvation, I mean deliverance in this world from the guilt and power of sin, as well as from the fear of future punishment; or, in other words, pardon, holiness, and peace; and the salvation which consists in the present possession and enjoyment of these blessings, is promised in God's word, and actually imparted by the Holy Spirit to all those who repent of their sins, and live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, “ who loved them, and gave himself for them:" such persons are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; and because they are under grace, sin hath no longer the dominion over them as before, their hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience, they have peace with God, and rejoice in hope of his glory. These are glorious privileges, and the experience of them prompted David to say, Psalm xxxii, verse 1, “ Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
But I observed that Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation. By eternal salvation, I mean that state of happiness -in Paradise, to which the souls of all who die in the faith and fear and love of his name are admitted immediately after their separation from the body; and likewise that higher state of glory and joy in heaven, to which the bodies as well as the souls of the saints shall be admitted at the resurrection and the judgment. But let it never be forgotten, hat these blessings are promised and imparted to those only whose faith shall have wrought by love, and have proved fruitful in all holy tempers, and in all good works: for the Scripture particularly and expressly declares, that “ Chiist is the author of eternal salvation to those who obey him;" and our Lord himself says, “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
This being the case, consider, my dear children, how very necessary it is to your eternal happiness that you should both know and do the commandments of Jesus Christ, your Saviour, your Lord, and your Judge. “Blessed,” saith the Holy Spirit, « are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city." Ought you not then earnestly to enquire with St. Paul at the time of his conversion, “ Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" Can you ask this question with sincerity? that is, with an upright determination, that, through the help of divine grace, you will serve the Lord according to his blessed will? Do you really wish to be instructed in “ the way that leadeth to eternal life,” in order that you may walk therein? Then happy are you.
Jesus Christ himself invites you to learn of him, and, as your servant, for his sake, I recommend to your attention that blessed Sermon which he preached upon a mountain in Galilee, to the multitudes who had followed him thither from various parts of the surrounding country.
It is contained in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. " Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” it. Take it for “ a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path.", It is the law of Jesus Christ your King, it is the word by which he will judge you at the last day; and so long as it condemns you now, you may be assured it will condemn you then. Be not satisfied, therefore, with the state of your heart or life; say not that it is well with your soul, until your thoughts, your tempers, and affections, your words, and your actions, are all brought into sweet captivity to the obedience of this law of Christ. 0! that there may be such a heart in you, that you may love him, and keep all his commandments always, that it may be well with you for ever; for if you walk according to this rule, you shall be acknowledged by Jesus, as his true disciples, and as the blessed children of his Father, in the great day of judgment. Determine then, in the strength of the Lord, that, whatever others may do, you will flee from
the wrath to come, and will follow your Saviour in the way which he has here marked out for you; and that you may be enabled to continue faithful to this determinatiou, pray earnestly to God that he would “ put his law into your mind, and write it in your heart," by bis Holy Spirit: ask him to make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight," that you may live to the glory of God your Saviour upon earth, and at last “ be with him where he is, to hehold his glory” in heaven.
In order that you may the more clearly understand this discourse of our blessed Lord, I have divided the substance of it into a course of questions and answers, which I hope you will carefully commit to memory, together with the Sermon itself, as it stands recorded in the Scriptures. By learning a small portion of the Sermon every week, together with the questions and answers which relate to such portion, you may in a few months be able to repeat the whole; and be assured, my dear children, that the time you may employ in this manner will be spent more acceptably to God, and more profitably to your own souls, than all the hours which you might consume in reading idle stories, learning “the songs of fools," or in trifling sports and amusements,
That the Blessing of the Lord may attend this endeavour to promote your instruction and edification in pure and undefiled religion, is the sincere and earnest prayer of
Your affectionate Minister,
JOHN EYTON. Wellington Vicarage,
Dec. 25th, 1805.